Monday, October 31, 2011

Knott's Calico Square, October 1964

The relatively small streets of Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town eventually led to a large open area near the train depot - Calico Square! It was where it was at, baby. As you can see, the park was packing them in even in October. And this was years before the "Halloween Haunt"! Can you still go up to the top floor of the Calico Saloon and walk out onto the balcony?

One popular attraction was the daily train robbery, which included a thrilling shootout. The bad guy always lost! Luckily, the undertaker was always nearby with his wheel barrow, ready to cart the corpse away. Undertakers have to be tall and thin, it's a little-known law.

Howsabout a better shot of the train?

Oh, and I'd like to wish you all a HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Get lots of candy, stay safe, and have fun.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lion Country Safari, May 1974

Lion Country Safari, in Irvine, California, is long gone (it closed in 1984). But it is missed by many SoCal locals!

Mr. Giraffe has been placed in such a way that passers-by on that road will be at eye level with him. That makes it easier to feed him hamburgers and french fries and share the occasional cigarette. He likes menthol.

There are some lions! Snoozing, as usual. The few times I made it to LCS, I always hoped a lion would leap onto the hood of our station wagon, like they did in all the commercials. No such luck. We should have hidden some hamburger under the hood. Check out the iconic jeeps, painted in a zebra-striped pattern.

If lions are too scary for you, how about a few goats and some deer? You can see the coin operated machine that dispensed some sort of mysterious animal chow, which was not half bad. A little salt helped.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - Halloween 1954, part two

Here is the final part of my tribute to Halloween from days gone by (and a continuation of the photos from last week).

Robot Boy can't move very well, so he's hanging out in the background. Bunny Girl has a cute smile; I think the girl with the headband is supposed to be a flapper... she is trying to ignore the antics of the masked fellow beside her. And the last girl (with the Shirley Temple curls) has removed her Woody Woodpecker mask and looks like she is about to sing the Star Spangled Banner.

Whoa! For a home-made costume, that skeleton is surprisingly scary. A little bit of black cloth and white paint can make an effective getup.

Check out this trio. The staring face on the left is giving me the willies, while the girl in the middle wears a piggie mask. The dude with the 5 o'clock shadow makes the most of his clown costume.

Here we go! This party must have had some sort of a spook house in the basement (?), and it is pretty weird. Especially when you consider that many of the other photos in this lot established this family as very Christian - to the point of having Bible study groups in their home. But hey, they got into the Halloween spirit, and I applaud them! This baby doll with the living head must have been pretty creepy in a low-light situation.

Are we having fun yet? I thought this was a guy until I noticed the long fingernails.

And finally, a charming tableau! This lady has a blade sticking out of her back, and a whole bottle of Del Monte ketchup (catsup?) has been blobbled onto her clothing. Good times!

Well, that about does it for our journey to Halloweens past. I hope everyone has a safe, fun Halloween tomorrow night!

Friday, October 28, 2011

More Walt Dizzy World, May 1972

Today we're heading to the east coast for a quick visit to Walt Disney World! These are the final four photos from my May 1972 bunch.

I love the fact that the Florida version of the Haunted Mansion looks different from the Anaheim version. It's pretty neat! And definitely more fitting for the land known as "Liberty Square". It's hard to believe that most of that structure is simply decoration, although in this case the stretching rooms stretch up rather than down. At Disneyland you are actually on an elevator that takes you underground so that you can travel beneath the train tracks and outside the berm. This wasn't necessary in Florida.

This striking structure is the home of the Tropical Serenade, the Magic Kingdom's version of "The Enchanted Tiki Room". The attraction was "under new management" for a while, but Iago and Zazu have moved out and Jose, Pierre, Michael and Fritz and all the other tiki birds have returned.

There's the building that held the Diamond Horseshoe Revue! It's funny, in most cases, buildings at Walt Disney World tended to be much larger and grander than their counterparts in Disneyland, but this structure is relatively modest. I believe that this is a restaurant now.

Lastly, and leastly, is this shot of a woman hangin' out in front of the First Aid station. Maybe there were restrooms there too. She looks angry; maybe she has a boo-boo that needs attention.

This may have been the last from this bunch, but I have a few more vintage WDW images to come!

*Note: I will be out of town starting today, and will return late Monday night. There will still be new posts each day, and I will respond to comments when I have access to a computer!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lots of Parking, 1956

Visitors to this blog (and others) may have detected an excessive fondness for Disneyland's old parking lot. After all... it was a parking lot! What's to love? Well, it was big, hot, and full of cars, but it was sort of a little pre-show. You could see Main Street Station in the distance, and usually you could see and hear one of the steam locomotives (bell clanging, whistle blowing). And in later years the Monorail would go whizzing by. (Heh heh, "whiz"). We usually parked far enough away to have to wait for the little trams to ferry us to the entrance, which was also part of the fun.

Much of the appeal of this photo is due to the wonderful cars. I'm drawn to the two-tone red and white example, even though I can't tell what it is! Two-tone is groovy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

World's Fair Fun

It's time to clean out some files on my computer! Here are some leftovers from the New York World's Fair; nothing too exciting, which is why they are leftovers.

Here's the Johnson's Wax pavilion. That golden disk (suspended above a reflecting pool) doesn't look too big from here, but it was actually a theater that could hold 500 guests. A film entitled "To Be Alive" was shown. It depicted "...the joys of living shared by all people". I guess we can assume that there were no explosions or battling robots?

Here's a nice shot of the Singer Bowl; at some point, it was decided that the Fair would need a stadium for large gatherings. The Fair's dedication ceremonies were held here (President Lyndon B. Johnson was there) on April 22, 1964! You can still see the stadium today, although the name has changed to "Louis Armstrong Stadium". See the kid to the left, the one who is pointing? I dig his shirt!

Located on the shore of Meadow Lake is the Hawaii pavilion. There were costumed Hawaiian girls there, which is all I need to know. But there were also artisans and examples of there wares, canoe rides, a color movie, poi burgers, and three-hour, 12 course luau. (OK, there weren't really poi burgers).

Swedens' pavilion is looking rather abandoned in this picture from July 1964. Maybe it wasn't open yet? When open, you could see demonstrations of Swedish technical wonders, including "a high speed machine that fills toothpaste tubes". Can it be true?? There was also a miniature department store full of fine Swedish merchandise (no naughty movies, though), and of course a smorgasbord.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sub Lagoon, September 1961

"Lagoon" is Italian for "the goon". Every bambino knows that. And today's photos involve Disneyland's submarine goon, circa 1961.

All the girls love bad boys. Or bad wolves, in this case, as the Big Bad Wolf draws a crowd of admirers. Jack Nicholson learned everything he knows from the BBW.

A second view, taken from the Skyway; the "Patrick Henry" moves slowly below us, and we can see fairly big crowds beyond the lagoon. Looks like the Fantasyland Autopia was popular that day - or maybe it was the Motor Boat Cruise?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just Another Miscellaneous Monday

Here's an unusual shot from Adventureland (January, 1963)... it almost looks like a photo that somebody took by accident. But it's still pretty good for some vintage people-watching, and you get a rare view of the front of the "Big Game Safari" shooting gallery.

Sometimes you just want to take a break during your visit to Disneyland. Find a shady bench, and take a load off your feet, and show off your souvenir hat if you have one. If I had a hat like that fella's, I would definitely wear it to "Dapper Day". The lady's blue fuzzy number has a suitably "Disney" quality (though I can't explain why, exactly). And ma'am, your polka-dotted head scarf is nice too. Wonder what that construction wall is for?

It looks like that raft is about to collide with the Columbia, but don't you worry. The razor-sharp prow of the Columbia will slice right through that raft with no problems whatsoever!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Knott's Mix

Today I have a random selection of photos from Knott's Berry Farm.

Let's start with this nice photo from April, 1956. I believe that modest little building is the original berry stand that Walter and Cordelia Knott used to sell their famous boysenberries (and other fruits and vegetables). I'm sure that they could have never dreamed of the success that they would achieve, thanks in large part to Cordelia's skill in cooking and eventually running the chicken restaurant, and Walter's vision, building a place to keep folks entertained while they waited for one of those chicken dinners.

From some time in the 1950's, somebody took a snapshot of the family as they posed on the small bridge over the beautiful lily pond. Look at all those trees? Long gone, of course.

And here's a familiar sight, the old steam-powered fire wagon. It was a popular photo subject, and it's easy to see why. It's beautifully clunky in that authentic "steampunk" manner!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - Halloween 1954

Here are some more photos from a vintage Halloween party; this one was in 1954.

So, what's the deal with that girl in the grandmotherly pink shawl? Is she supposed to be a faded Hollywood starlet, a la Norma Desmond? Next to her is another boy in drag (even a bra)! The character in the fearsome mask with the eye patch is actually a pretty blond girl (which I learned from a "mask off" version of the photo). A cowgirl with a pair of six-shooters and a sparkly gold mask looks great.

This might be my favorite of the bunch! The kid in black must be some kind of visitor from another world (how else to explain the antennae?). And then my hero, the kid in the wonderful robot costume. Crush! Kill! Destroy! If he can see anything, that is. A scary ghost/skeleton stands beside that kid who always wears the same darn mask every year (see here and here), only this time he accessorises with a hobo knapsack and a fedora.

A spiffy magician (?) stands next to a pair of lovely geishas, complete with kimonos and paper fans. Dad's old sport coat will work just fine for a scarecrow!

Two sailors (brothers?) wear gas masks to protect themselves from breathing radioactive particles from all of the atom bomb tests. And keeping with the "twins" theme, two girls stand arm-in-arm. I wish I could read their sashes... "Which twin has the...". HAS THE WHAT? I must know. Zooming in didn't help.

And finally, a tiger boy stands next to a pair of regrettably offensive kids in "black face" makeup. Beside them, partially obscured in the back, is a character with a large flat face. Ooookay. And finally, a mop makes a good cheap wig for whatever she is supposed to be. Rag doll? Witch?

Only one more "Anything Goes" Saturday of Halloween fun before the big day!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Town Square & More, April 29 1956

Here are two more photos from the lot of slides from April 1956. I've been posting them in no particular order, and this late-afternoon look at Town Square must have been taken just as our photographer was about to head home. The view is not terribly different from what you might see today... only some details have changed (no Wurlitzer store!). The "people watching" is fun though.

Now we're in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, looking past part of the moat. A little boy is fascinated by the black swans, while his mom checks out the flowers. In the background you can see a tiny bit of construction going on, presumably part of the old Mine Train ride, which would open in about 3 months.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Matterhorn, 1960-ish

Today's photos come from teeny tiny slides; much smaller than standard 35mm. I'd say they're about 3/4 of an inch by about 3/8 inch. And yet... when you scan 'em and enlarge them, they hold up pretty well.

We're heading away from the Matterhorn, toward the Skyway Chalet in Fantasyland. As usual I am particularly drawn to the gold-painted buckets (as well as the gold-painted Autopia cars!).

Now we're on the Tomorrowland side of the Swiss mountain, with the curving Monorail track below us. I've always assumed that the "tray" underneat the track was there to catch nuts and bolts, oil drips, and any other debris that might fall off of the Monorail. Or maybe it's there for maintenance crews to walk on.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Calico Mine Train Postcards

Here's a peek at some more vintage postcards featuring Knott's Berry Farm's fabulous Calico Mine Train attraction! In case you missed them, check out part one, part two, and part three.

One of the highlights of the Mine Train ride comes after a few moments slowly traveling through dark, narrow tunnels, and arriving at the "glory hole" - the site of a particularly rich vein of gold. This tableau is 65 feet high and 90 feet wide!

The figures that you see here are not animatronics; they are basically static dummies (though I think a few might have had some limited movement). But it all works, with the clanking of machinery (some of that did move) and moody lighting and the motion of the train itself. There's a lot to take in!

If I recall correctly, passengers get their first view of the glory hole from this lower level. Later, after the train has gone uphill and is then lifted even further with the help of a chain lift, folks get another view from higher up.

This figure is almost certainly long gone, and understandably so. However, all the figures were pretty crude, bordering on the grotesque.

This postcard is one of my favorites. Not only is it a rare look at the "bubbling pot room" (look at all that dangerous volcanic steam!), but you can see the photographer's assistant to the left, with a hand held light to help illuminate the scene. Don't worry George, we'll crop you out later!

Stay tuned for one last post of Calico Mine Train postcards!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Castle & Quartet, January 1960

Good old Sleeping Beauty Castle; it's looking kind of forlorn here, surrounded by leafless trees (it is January, after all). And the colors on the film stock have a blue cast. But you know what? It's still pretty, and I still prefer it to the pink paint scheme we have today.

Keystone Cops playing saxomophones, that's what I'm talking about. The quartet is heating things up as the sun sets. What are they playing? "Minnie's Yoo-hoo", what else. There's another orange tree full of fruit, and in the background, the gateway to Frontierland.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

I have three "leftuggies" for you today! (That's "leftovers" to those who don't speak Gorilla).

Here's a photo from 1959, from Frontierland. I am guessing that the photographer meant to focus on the Mark Twain, but instead he/she wound up with a photo of pink oleander blossoms, and a blurry Twain in the distance. It's artistic, man!

This guy dreamed of piloting a sleek Monorail, or perhaps a nuclear submarine, or even wearing lederhosen while helping folks on to the Matterhorn bobsleds. But you've got to start somewhere.

This photo dates from June 25, 1966. "It's a Small World" opened less than a month before that (on May 28). I'm so glad that the façade was returned to the white and gold palette, although the multicolored pastels that it sported for years had its fans. The vast expanse of pavement is a bit off-putting, though it was probably necessary. Bear Country had a similar look to it before Splash Mountain and the change to "Critter Country".

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Carnation Truck, July 17 1968

The cheerful little Carnation milk truck sat on West Center Street for many years - and was a popular "photo op" for kids and adults who wanted to sit behind the wheel.

OK, so not a soul is in sight, but you'll have to take my word that it was popular! Maybe one of the 999 happy haunts (waiting for to move into the Haunted Mansion) is sitting in the truck. Yeah, that's it. Ghosts love milk and ice cream, it's a known fact. They also like bologna and mustard sandwiches.

I think it's smiling at us!